Here for a friend’s birthday. To keep status quo happy (Asians), Pontoon is the chosen venue tonight, so let’s go!


Perfect @ Pontoon Bar, Darling harbour, Sydney
Assessment Time: 10:10PM – 1:15AM, 3:15AM-3:30AM
Opening Hours: Downstairs: (Open earlier in the night for dinner – 4:00AM) Upstairs: 11:30PM – 2/3AM?
Lockout: No known lockout, but entry is closed to the general public at 3AM, while stampholders are still permitted re-entry rights at all times, though you have to line up in line AGAIN if you want to get back in. Totally sucks.
Address: Listed as 201 Sussex St, but access to the place is more or less via The Promenade at Darling Harbour’s Cockle Bay Wharf. The main entry is now via the ground floor where you will usually see a line of people. After 11PM you can also pay for your entry upstairs and get stamped as well – so there are two effective entry points.
Venue Website:
Event Website:
Promoters: Joint promoter companies: Colab, Syndicate Events, GTB, and an extra promoter “Forever Fridays” tonight who are hail from Melbourne – they brought over their MC and a Melbourne based DJ.
Occurrence: Every Friday since Mid-April 2011
Outside Line: We arrived a little earlier than I would usually like, but there were no people in line. As we debated whether we should go in, about TWENTY people jumped in line. Oh my god. We joined the line eventually and got in after about 10 minutes. Upstairs opens at 11PM, and despite having stamps already, we have to line up AGAIN amongst the other people who haven’t paid entry to get access! Bloody ridiculous. It’s the same as well downstairs, once you go outside for whatever reason, you have to line up to get back in. Luckily for the smokers, there are “open” areas on each level where you can puff and stuff your lungs with tar. Later in the night around midnight it took a friend 30 minutes to get in. Tough love.
Dress Code / Door Policy: Smart Casual is promoted here tonight, and pretty much most people here are compliant. Not sure about the hat situation but the last few times I was here, they were okay to wear. Most guys are in pants/jeans and a collared t-shirt, and girls have managed to not wear casual tonight.
Entry Fee / Cover Charge: Standard full fare Asian clubbing price of $25 tonight. If you were on the guestlist and arrived before 11:30PM, you got a card that entitled you to $15 entry. Brilliant, except during a moment of absent mindedness, I forgot to use my card and inadvertedly paid $25 without even realising it. I simply gave the discount card to another friend so they could enjoy the benefits of me lining up early, while they didn’t have to.
Guestlist: Guestlists are no longer valid after 11:30PM. Guestlists to be sent to
Inside: Ground Level: Walk past the easy-to-miss cloak room and cashier to enter the middle part of the floor. To the left is the main bar with about 2-3 staff as well as the entire outdoor area. The are large wooden tables and stools, chairs, lounges about, where people were once dining hours ago. This outdoor area could hold easily 100 people or so. The dancefloor area on the right is a slow covered transition from the outdoor area where also 100-200 people can dance here. The DJ booth sits in the far corner near the toilets. There is little furniture bar a lounge at the rear of the dancefloor. Upstairs: Walk through the chillout/smoking area where there are many lounges, with a view of Darling harbour – continue on into the depths of the dancefloor situated on the far end of the room, as where the DJ is. The setup has slightly changed from last time, where the DJ was in the middle. I think this is a good thing as it is as far away from the smoke as possible, though at risk of the area overheating quickly. The walls are lined with squarely setup lounges. Bar is on the right
Cloak Room: Cloak room downstairs – $5 for placing an item, while it is $2 for rechecks. Pretty reasonable.
Bar Prices / Line: $15.70 altogether for a Gin and Tonic, Orange Juice and coke. $12.90 for a Vodka+Red Bull in a tall glass. At 10:15PM there was no waiting time. At 11PM the wait increased to about 5 minutes. At around 1AM, the wait was timed at about twenty five (25) minutes on both levels up and down.
Bathroom Facilities: Fair, could be a little bigger.
Eviction Count: None spotted, but I wasn’t paying attention.
DJs: Resident DJ’s plus guest DJ Mich from Melbourne
Music Style: Mostly Contemporary RnB downstairs, while upstairs did play some more of the older ‘throwback’ rnb songs. Oh yes, throwback is a word im going to use now.
Crowd: Dominantly Asian, and mostly local Aussie Asians. I don’t think I ran into one international Asian here tonight. Most of the ages were young. Company was of course lots of 21 year olds. That said, the crowd was mostly young 20’s to mid 20’s, as far as I could tell.
Ratio: You know its always going to be more guys then girls, but it was good. A lot of the girls looked their best surprisingly tonight, and I ain’t complaining.
Entertainment: There was no real special occasion except for having the MC and DJ from melbourne to do a set.

Atmosphere: Between 10-11PM: People were mostly in the courtyard chatting and drinking, with some daring to go on the floor.
Around 11:15PM: I would consider the dancefloor downstairs to have enough people to be considered pretty busy. That is quite the achievement. I got pretty hot in my blazer already at this time, and the lack of seabreeze from outside plus the cigarette smoke didn’t help either. Man, let me tell you cigarette smoke always does me in at the clubs. I try and stay away from it as much as I can, resulting me in being on the dancefloor most of the time. Though there were quite a lot of people outside in the courtyard not to smoke, but to just have a normal conversation about the weather, or discuss about why do they call it a building, when its already built?
Upstairs after 11:30PM it wasnt packed but it wasn’t dead. You could dance here but the sofas right next to the dancefloor made you feel like you were on show, and people shied away from that area. The line at the bar here was pretty long as well during midnight-1AM
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Another reason I dont like lining up at the bar
You know what I like about lining up? Nothing. Well actually, I like it when there is like a girl behind me and unfortunately she has to place her breasts on my back as I line up. Besides that, there really isn’t much fun in the line at all. So as part of this fun experience we have two people placing orders, and they have bought some shots. Well, you know, they had to pass the shots to their friends behind us, and somehow spilled some of that shit all over our clothing!! yuuuuuuuuckk. I hate that. Keep your hand steady please. Then as a added thing, his friend spilled another drink on us too. Fun times. Turns out the guy who spilled the drinks was a friend of my younger brother. My lord, I don’t belong here.

A envigorating dancer
There are a few dancers that many Asian a folk will always remember, such as Jason from Bamboo/Wow.. or.. well you know. Other people. Anyway, a friend of a friend who came along to the party looks quite like a normal chap until he starts to dance. He is on supercharged energizers.. oh my lord. hair shaking, fist bumping, very surreal performance. A few people could probably keep up with this guy, but definitely the highlight was when he jumped up and did the splits on the floor. THE SPLITS! who in this world can do the splits? Apparently my friends say 1 in 5 but I don’t know.

I took it extremely easy tonight as I had to go snorkelling in the morning. I left just before 1:30 .

Final Thoughts & Recommendation
Simply by having two levels of rooms, this place pretty much trumps the others in terms of numbers of Asians you can fit into one place. It seems to be a default for my friends and I do try to avoid it as much as possible to prevent getting sick of the place, but besides the long bar lines, smoking, stale warm weather, and that drink spill.. I can’t really fault much of it. Didn’t really interact with the crowd tonight so I can’t tell if they were friendly or what not. Other than that I would say though, do try to get in before 11:30 with a guestlist, because the difference between $15 and $25 is a big one.


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2 Responses to Perfect Nights @ Pontoon Bar: Friday 20th January 2012

  1. […] this event. The main promoter was Syndicate Events, GTB, and Colab – the same promoters for Perfect Nights @ Pontoon Bar. Occurrence: Once off event for Australia Day Outside Line: There were about 5 people in front of […]

  2. vic says:

    Hi James

    Good review – just to let you know – I’m the guy that did the splits lol

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